December 22, 2016

12-22-16 Newsletter


SV@Home: December 22, 2016 News

Looking Back on 2016 and Ahead to the New Year

As 2016 comes to a close, we have been reflecting on both our work to date and the job ahead.  Every day we are reminded why it is we are working to increase affordable housing options in our high-cost region.  But, we do have reason to celebrate!!  

Three cheers go to:

  • Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, and the entire Board of Supervisors for placing Measure A, with its $950 million for affordable housing development, on the November ballot!
  • The voters of Santa Clara County who said yes to the bonds, giving us hope that the community understands the need for new homes for lower-income households.
  • Amie Fishman and Sharon Cornu and the Board of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California who decided that we could win three affordable housing funding campaigns in the Bay Area and went out and made it happen!
  • The MTC and ABAG boards for taking action to look regionally and comprehensively at the housing crisis by establishing a task force and agreeing to create a plan of action.
  • Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other employers who are engaging in the conversation around housing and looking for ways to make a difference.
  • Senator Bob Wieckowski for his efforts to increase the viability of accessory dwelling units in the State with his bill, SB 1069.
  • Local elected officials like Los Gatos Council members Rob Rennie and Marcia Jensen who stood up and supported housing development even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.
  • Senator Jim Beall for his leadership on housing as the Chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and his commitment to the passage of a $3 billion bond for affordable housing programs.
  • All the foundations, organizations, companies, and individuals who support our work, attend our events, and raise their voices for affordable housing!

We also want to give a special shout out to the staff of the Housing Trust Silicon Valley — Kevin Zwick, Sandra Murillo, Julie Mahowald, Jeannette Ruiz, Alison Frost, Vivian Vo, Calvin Zhang, and the whole crew — who incubated SV@Home, provided us endless support and guidance, and have made every effort to make us feel a part of the team!  

As 2017 begins, we know that we have a lot to tackle and a busy year ahead. We will jump into the next phase of Measure A — implementation!  And we will focus on the work of the regional housing task force and work with local jurisdictions as they consider new impact fees, new ordinances, new land use plans, and a potential Regional Housing Needs Allocation subregion.  We face uncertainty at the federal level with the incoming Trump Administration, the status of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and the appointment of Ben Carson as the new HUD Secretary.  We have already seen that the 2017 legislative session will have a full slate of housing bills.  And we know that focus will be on safe housing in the aftermath of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland.  That tragedy highlights the number of people who are living in unsafe spaces as an outcome of the housing crisis, and should make revisiting policies like amnesty for  illegal garage conversions that can be brought up to code a high priority.

We are thankful for our members, partners, and the many community residents concerned about housing, and for their work to make change.   We look forward to 2017 and building on our collective success to ensure that each community in Santa Clara County is inclusive, stable, and diverse.   

We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and Happy New Year!  

The Latest on SV@Home

SV@Home Becomes Independent!

As of January 1st, SV@Home will be an independent organization!  When we opened our doors in July of 2015, we knew that we would eventually reach this day.  While we are officially independent, we still need to receive our official 501(c)3 paperwork from the IRS, which we expect in early 2017.  Once received, the biggest change for our members and supporters is that we will now be able to process your membership fees, donations, and sponsorships directly, without the two-step process.  

We have been working hard to create the infrastructure required in order to achieve independence, and couldn’t have done it without the support of Julie Mahowald, Sandra Murillo, and the pro bono assistance from DLA Piper and Ana Cardenas-Meza, Nancy Chow, and Thayer Mullins.

Drop by our new offices at 350 W Julian Street, Building 5 (the house facing Julian next to Paesanos).  If you are lucky, you might get the chance to meet our (furry) assistants — Ginji, Max, and Milo!

Get Ready for the SV@Home Happy Housers Open House

Thursday, January 26th
5:30 pm – 7:00pm
350 W. Julian Street #5, San Jose

We’re kicking off our 2017 Happy Housers series with an Open House at SV@Home’s new home! We are now located in the River Street Historic District in Downtown San Jose’s Little Italy, near Guadalupe River Park, Bel Bacio Cafe, and Paesano Italian Restaurant!! Come meet fellow housers and community leaders, enjoy some refreshments, and hang out in our new space.

Please RSVP as space is limited. We hope to see you there!

More information, including parking instructions, will be sent to attendees closer to the event.

Happy Housers will take place on the 3rd Thursday of each odd numbered month in 2017.

SV@Home Office

SV@Home Members Celebrate the Holidays

Last week, over 70 SV@Home members gathered at the Silicon Valley Capital Club to celebrate the SV@Home community and all we’ve accomplished together in the past year, including the successful passage of Measure A, convening a successful Affordable Housing Week, advocating for pro-housing policies in numerous South Bay cities, and much more!

See photos from the event and tag yourselves on Facebook!

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate! We look forward to continuing to work tirelessly with and for you in the New Year to keep moving towards our vision of a Silicon Valley where everyone has access to a safe, stable, and affordable home.

Holiday Party 1

Holiday Party 2

Policy Round-Up

Santa Clara County in Regional Conversations

Currently home to 7 million people, planners project that the nine-County Bay Area region will grow by an additional 2 million households by the year 2040. In Santa Clara County, the population is expected to increase by nearly 250,000 households.  To put that in perspective, that is more than the current household count in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Campbell, Santa Clara, and Cupertino combined.

State law (Senate Bill 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008) requires regions to plan for this growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The Bay Area response is Plan Bay Area, an integrated transportation, land use, and housing plan, which was first adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in 2013.

On November 17th, MTC and ABAG adopted a Final Preferred Scenario for the next iteration of the regional plan – Plan Bay Area 2040. The Preferred Scenario accommodates denser housing growth in big cities – San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland – and in areas designated as Priority Development Areas (PDAs). Santa Clara County has a total of 42 PDAs – neighborhoods identified by local jurisdictions as appropriate for compact and denser transit-oriented development.

SV@Home worked directly with MTC to provide feedback and analysis on the Draft Scenario. Click here to read our analysis on the proposed draft scenarios. While we were pleased that the adopted Final Preferred Scenario responded to a number of our concerns, more work is needed to respond to existing and future affordable housing demands.  MTC and ABAG have agreed to create an Action Plan that details short-term and medium-term actions for public agencies and other stakeholders, and to identify a spectrum of new resources and policies. SV@Home will continue to represent Santa Clara County in these regional conversations and will provide opportunities for member engagement at upcoming Roundtable discussions.

A New Regional Housing Task Force Launches!

On December 14th, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments jointly launched a regional housing task force called the Committee for Affordable and Sustainable Accommodations (CASA).  The work of CASA is intended to jumpstart the Action Plan mentioned above.  While task force members have not yet been identified, CASA is envisioned as a multi-sectoral committee and will be tasked with identifying the range of game changing solutions needed to accommodate the region’s very low-, low-, and moderate-income housing needs.

SV@Home will be at the table!  SV@Home’s Executive Director, Leslye Corsiglia, will serve as CASA’s co-chair together with Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. This is a great opportunity to share SV@Home’s model of multi-sectoral partnership and coalition efforts at the regional level. We’re excited about this opportunity to co-lead important conversations that will help shape the region’s transportation, land use, and housing framework.

We are currently working with MTC and ABAG staff to identify task force members and to create a workplan for the Committee. CASA is slated to begin its work in early 2017. We will share information as it becomes available; stay tuned for details on how to participate and stay engaged.

Leslye Corsiglia

San Jose General Plan Update Concludes with Big Wins for Housing 

On December 13th, the San Jose City Council finalized its four-year review of the Envision 2040 General Plan with a vote to adopt all 27 recommendations put forth by the General Plan Task Force, with a few amendments.  

SV@Home advocated for these changes since the beginning of the General Plan Task Force discussions.  We celebrate this policy victory with our partner organizations who participated in many coalition strategy sessions, testified at numerous Task Force, Planning Commission and Council meetings, signed on to coalition letters, and reached out to Councilmembers.  Thank you for your dedication and support! A special thanks to Kevin Zwick, CEO of the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, for representing the affordable housing community as a member of the General Plan Task Force!

Here are a few highlights:

  • Establishment of a 25 percent deed-restricted affordable housing goal as part of Urban Village Plans, with 15 percent of these deed-restricted units to be targeted to households earning below 30 percent of Area Median Income.  Projections show that over 40 percent of future homes in San Jose need to be affordable to lower-income households.  This policy will support the City of San Jose’s efforts to meet this projected need for affordable housing.  

  • Allowing 100 percent deed-restricted affordable developments to move forward in Urban Villages, regardless of their Horizon designation.  This will ensure that urgently needed affordable housing is built as soon as possible, allowing the City to address the housing crisis now.  

  • Amendment of the Discretionary Alternate Use Policy, also known as the “1.5 acre rule,”  which will allow 100 percent deed-restricted affordable housing to be built on small sites of 1.5 acres or less if they are (1) near transit, (2) in Mixed Use Commercial or Neighborhood/Community Commercial districts, (3) outside of existing Growth Areas, and (4) adjacent to residential uses on at least two sides.  This policy change can potentially open up hundreds of opportunity sites for affordable housing development and support nonprofit housing developers by reducing their land acquisition costs.  

While we were disappointed that the Council made a change to the Discretionary Alternate Use Policy, moving the eligible sites from those adjacent to residential on two sides rather than the Task Force recommendation of one side (and reducing the number of eligible sites by two-thirds), we will work with City staff to  review the sites that meet the  requirements.  Depending on the results, this policy may need to be revisited.  

Additionally, the Council approved a recommendation from Council members Rocha and Peralez that the staff return to the Council  with a review of urban village planning efforts, considering a range of alternatives and whether specific villages further City goals and policies. We welcome this review, which is aligned with concerns we raised about the urban village phasing, which was originally approved under the assumption that housing did not pay for itself and needed to be phased, an assumption that has since been found to be inaccurate.

Palo Alto Adopts New Housing Impact Fees

At its final meeting of the year, the Palo Alto City Council voted to adopt new and updated impact fees on new residential and commercial development to fund new affordable housing development.  The new fees are set at the following levels:

  • $20 per square foot for new rental housing 
  • $50 per square foot for new for-sale housing
  • $60 per square foot for new office/medical/R&D
  • $30 per square foot for new hotels

SV@Home advocated for the establishment of rental housing fees that are aligned with neighboring Silicon Valley jurisdictions, which range from $17 to $25, as well as alternative compliance options that would provide developers with the flexibility to select an option from a range of alternatives (e.g., integrating the units in the development, paying an in-lieu fee for for-sale housing development, partnering with an affordable housing developer to provide affordable units on site or off site, or dedicating land to the City for the creation of standalone affordable housing) that would result in the greatest number of new affordable units built in Palo Alto.  Click here to read SV@Home’s full set of policy recommendations to the Palo Alto City Council.  The second reading of the fee ordinance is scheduled early in 2017.  SV@Home will continue to advocate for alternative compliance options and to lower the small project exemption size to three units as recommended by City staff.

In early 2017, five other Santa Clara County jurisdictions — Campbell, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Santa Clara County — will consider new housing impact fees.  SV@Home is partnering with Working Partnerships to engage in all of these jurisdictions as the discussions unfold in the new year; stay tuned for updates!

San Jose Preserves Affordable Housing Impact Fee Provisions

Los Esteros Apartments

On December 6th, the San Jose City Council considered making changes to the City’s Affordable Housing Impact Fee (AHIF) ordinance for rental residential development.  This ordinance was adopted in 2014 and, due to grandfathering,  has only been in effect since July of this year.  SV@Home and housing advocates from organizations including the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, Sacred Heart Housing Action Committee, and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley came together to urge the Council to make no modifications or approve new exemptions to the existing $17 per square foot fee.

Council members listened and voted, reaffirming their commitment to affordable housing in San Jose.  The vote was unanimous to take the following actions:

  • Make no changes to the small project exemption (which exempts developments with 3 or fewer units from the fee)
  • Work with the City Attorney to study any legal issues involved with lowering the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance’s small project threshold (which is currently at 20 units) to match that of the AHIF.
  • Have staff come back with changes that would allow developers the option to build deed-restricted affordable housing units instead of paying the AHIF.

We thank the City Council for their leadership and ongoing efforts to address the needs of all those struggling to afford the cost of housing in San Jose.  A special thanks to Working Partnerships, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, EAH Housing, Resources for Community Development, and Housing Trust Silicon Valley for standing with SV@Home in a policy statement to Council!

Cities Take Action to Comply with State ADU Laws

In the last few weeks, a number of Santa Clara County jurisdictions — including San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Campbell — have updated their ADU (accessory dwelling unit) ordinances to align with the requirements of SB 1069 and AB 2299, two bills signed by the Governor in September which ease parking requirements and other regulations related to ADUs. Those local jurisdictions that haven’t updated their local ordinances as of January 1, 2017 will be  subject to the ADU development regulations set forth in the legislation.   

While SV@Home applauds cities’ efforts to meet the minimum statewide requirements, we continue to push for more changes at the local level — including further reduction of regulatory barriers and support for proactive efforts to educate homeowners on the possibility and benefits of building ADUs.  With leadership from outgoing Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, San Jose’s City Council led the charge by voting to study the development of a robust public information effort on ADUs and considering other actions that could be taken to increase the feasibility of this housing option.  SV@Home will be watching and commenting when the City’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement returns to the Council with these additional actions.

In addition to San Jose, the City of Sunnyvale has made strides by adjusting its minimum lot size requirement, thus opening up the opportunity for ADU construction on over 800 additional lots, and committing to studying further reduction of the minimum lot size requirement in 2017.  Earlier this year, The City of Mountain View took action to eliminate the lot size requirement altogether.

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350 W Julian St. #5
San Jose, California 95110

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